Danny Sarno

Every once in awhile, I will do a Google search on someone I used to know.  As I am getting older and further removed from my old life, the searches are nostalgic and what I am now finding out, sometimes depressing.

Tonight I discovered one of my buddies from Minnesota died a few years ago from suicide.  I last spoke with him in 2006 on my last return trip after moving away a few years earlier.  I visited him at his new restaurant and copied some mp3’s for him just like old times.  He seemed enthusiastic to get back into the restaurant game after a few years of hard luck with other projects.

I met him around 1995 in his restaurant Two Guys From Italy.  My girlfriend at the time said I would like him because he was friendly and enthusiastic but with a strong Italian personality (like me!).  Sure enough, we hit it off and I maintained my friendship with him long after my relationship with her ended.  I would often visit him in his smoke-filled back-office to drink cappuccino, eat pizza and chat.  I helped him with accounting and computer stuff.  Not for money, but just for his company and a connection.  I could always count on him as a reference, a respected local businessman with an outgoing personality.  I hooked him up with a satellite that was rigged to get all the channels.  We tested it by watching pornos and football games before putting it in his bar!

Danny and I each went through breakups from significant relationships at the same time, each with the same first name!  His divorce had taken a toll on him and he’d talk to me about it.  He lost quite a bit of his wealth but at least ended up with shared custody of his children, whom I could tell he loved very much.  As for me, I ran into my ex for what would be the last time in his office.  We hung out together for about an hour and had a good time.  However, I will never forget when she looked me in the eye when I left with a half-smile as if to acknowledge “thanks for the memories” but also “I don’t care if you live or die”.

Like me, Danny could get himself in trouble with his passion and could be a little abrasive at times.  He would overreact and say things he would later regret and keep people an arm’s length away.  I’m sure the misfortune with his businesses didn’t help that.  His idea for a Gelato franchise was great but it happened just as the 9-11 recession hit.  He went from building a Scarface-style dream house in Eagan to renting a small condominium in Woodbury.  I’d visit him there to work on his computer and chat.  He would treat me like a family member regardless of how depressed he was about his businesses.

So today was another case in which I used my detective skills to find out bad news about someone I used to know well.  Only upon their passing do you realize the full impact they have made on your life and that they are still in your heart.   Danny, my friend.  You will be missed.



Danny with actor Anthony Quinn


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